Parent Trigger Results in Unique Charter and District Model in Los Angeles

May 30, 2013

  • Print
The first two parent triggers in California - in Compton and in Adelanto, in the high desert - were marked by hostility, major pushback and legal action from the school districts. However, the first parent trigger in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was welcomed with open arms by the superintendent and the board.

The "parent trigger" law was passed by the California Legislature in January 2010 and has been making headlines ever since. Several other states have passed their own versions of the law. Under the law, if over half of the parents at a low-performing school sign a petition, the school district must implement the policy parents choose to improve the school. This can include replacing staff or the principal, dissolving the school and moving the students to other sites or converting the school into a charter school.

From Co-location to Partnership in the First LAUSD Parent Trigger

Early this year, parents of students at 24th Street Elementary became the first to pull the parent trigger in LAUSD. The school district not only welcomed the petition, but wrote and submitted its own plan to run the school, as did several charter school operators and teacher teams.

On April 11, 2013, parents announced they had chosen an unprecedented partnership between Crown Preparatory Academy and LAUSD to operate their school under a unified K-8 model. Crown Prep has a highly-successful middle school that has been co-located on the 24th Street campus under Proposition 39 since its founding in 2010. Currently, about 30 percent of Crown Prep's students come from 24th Street.

Under the model, LAUSD will reconstitute the elementary school as a K-4, and students will automatically attend Crown Prep for grades 5-8. The charter school and the district will work together on professional development, shared character values, operations, and safety and other school-wide issues. While there are many details to resolve, Crown Prep will be integrated on the campus as opposed to simply using space on a yearly basis.

"We are so proud of the 24th Street parents for choosing a new path for their children. This partnership is truly helping to demonstrate education's future: making decisions that have student achievement at their center. We are putting adult agendas aside and doing the most important thing we can do: improve education for kids," said Laura McGowan-Robinson, Crown Prep's founder and executive director. "We are proud to be part of the first peaceful parent trigger in the nation. We're leading the way towards a new paradigm."

Adelanto Parent Shares Advice at the Statewide Charter School Parent Summit

One of the special guests at this year's Charter School Parent Summit in San Diego was a passionate parent advocate who only recently became a charter school parent. He shared his story and some advice for other parents.

In 2007, Jose Morales was just a frustrated parent -- his son's school, Desert Trails Elementary, had been failing for years with no change in sight. So he joined with fellow parents at the school and they successfully used the parent trigger law to turn around their school. This fall, the school is opening as a charter school run by LaVerne Preparatory Academy, a high-performing charter school in nearby Hesperia.

"They're not going to listen to just anybody - but they will listen to a group of parents," said Morales. "The best line of defense for your child's education is mom and dad. Never back down."

New Film on the First Parent Trigger in Compton

In 2010, a group of parents from Compton made history when they were the first in the nation to use a new California law called the "parent trigger." A team of filmmakers in Los Angeles followed the parents and guardians of McKinley Elementary School for nearly two years to tell this story of parent empowerment. The filmmakers hope to be able to host screenings for parents and community members and to distribute the film more widely. See the trailer for "We the Parents" and learn more.

Add a comment